The Nigerian Bar Association (NBA) has asked the Minister of Women Affairs and Social Development, Pauline Tallen to withdraw her comments on a judgment of the court and tender an apology to the court within seven days.
The NBA made the demands via a letter dated November 14 and signed by its President, Yakubu Maikyau.
In the judgment of the Federal High Court in a suit between Nuhu Ribadu and the All Progressives Congress (APC) and 2Ors, delivered on October 14, 2022, the court had in resolving the issues held that the Adamawa State APC Governorship Primary Election, which took place on May 26, 2022, was invalid having been conducted in violation of the Electoral Act 2022 and the APC Constitution and Guidelines.
The court consequently voided the return of the 2nd Defendant, Aishatu Ahmed, as the winner of the primary election, and in addition, refused the prayer for fresh primaries.
The NBA noted that while speaking with journalists on the sidelines of the Global Reunion and Annual General Meeting of her alma mater, Federal Government Girls’ College, Bida, the minister had referred to the said judgment of the Federal High Court as “a kangaroo judgement” and also went on to justify her remarks with comments which were disrespectful and contemptuous of the court.
While noting that the NBA does not have any interest in the matter and holds no brief for any of the parties to the dispute, the President of the Bar restated the NBA‘s steadfastness and commitment to its responsibility of protecting the integrity and independence of the courts.
“The association does not and will not take kindly the action of any person or group of persons which treats the Court and its processes or proceedings with levity and contempt,” he said.
“Your comments were clearly calculated to impugn the integrity of the Court, bring it to disrepute and incite the public against the Judiciary.
“The only permissible, lawful, and civil way to express one’s discontent with the decision of a Court is to appeal the decision and not resort to the use of derogatory language in reference to the Court, no matter how unhappy one may be with its decisions.”
The NBA President went on to describe Tallen’s conduct as uncivilised and totally unbecoming, particularly of the holder of a public office who knows better and enjoys tremendous influence over political supporters who may interpret such comments as a marching order against the court.